I love hand crafts, generally if I don't know what to do with myself to keep busy or if I need to sit still for a few hours, I will either be knitting or crocheting. Generally I crochet in Summer and Knit in winter but that also depends on the project that I am busy with. One of the things I learnt while learning how to crochet was it really depends on the yarn when you are just starting out.
There are a few things to consider when buying yarn as a beginner or even an expert crocheter. I am sharing my short list of yarn characteristics that I think make a difference when starting a project and at the bottom a few of my recommendations of yarns available in Johannesburg and Pretoria.
- The project itself can dictate the thickness of the yarn. If you are making a blanket an aran or a chunky or even a super chunky will be a lot more rewarding than a double knit or 4 ply as the project will grow quicker.
- Texture, some yarns are very fuzzy or have bobbles, all these can affect how the stitches look. So if you are going for a very detailed stitch, a fuzzy yarn will not show your stitches where as a fuzzy yarn can make a plain stitch look more interesting.
- In hotter months working with wool's can be extremely hot, particularly if you are working on something that will land up on your lap ultimately.
- Summer yarns: Cottons, Linens, Bamboos and blends of these are nice because they don't warm you up unnecessarily.
- Winter months: Wools, silks, acrylics can be wonderful because the projects keep you warm as you are going.
You don't need to spend a fortune on yarns but sometimes spending a bit of money on your yarns can make a huge difference. Some of the very cheap yarns don't wash at all well so the first time you wash your project, it becomes that weird fluffy and stops looking pretty. That said silk and wool blends are expensive and if you are working on a huge project like a blanket or even a sweater, the price plays a huge factor.
Which yarns do I like?
Super budget friendly:
- Elle gold comes in Chunky and Double knit, it is a smooth yarn and works great with projects that need to be warm but not arctic winter warm. Only downside is sometimes you can split the yarn with your hook so pay attention as you go.
- Vinni's Nikkum is a cotton yarn and comes in either one solid colour or you can get the variegated yarns. These work beautifully and are a South African yarn in huge demand both locally and internationally. These are more of a summer yarn.
- Vinni's Sierra is a bamboo so it is super soft and shiny. The yarns are so soft they don't always hold their shape if you plan on making something very heavy with them.
- I love Yarn Imagine is a wonderful to work with yarn, they have a mix of cottons and wools. The colours are wonderful and always the palettes of the season.
- African expressions Joy, is double knit yarn that is a blend of wool and acrylic, it is beautiful and soft and warm. Great for winter hats and scarves.
- African Expressions Harmony is a merino wool yarn that is smooth and well spun, it is made with hand knitters and crocheters dream yarns in mind. The colours are wonderful and it is very hard not to find a yarn you would fall in love with.
While this is by no means a complete list of yarns that I love and collect, I think these are a great starting point for any crocheter to look at. I made sure all the yarns are made in South Africa and are all under R50 but that doesn't mean that I don't use international yarns either.